World population hits 8 billion on Tuesday, creating more challenges: UN

UNITED NATIONS, Nov 15 (APP): The world’s population reached 8 billion on Tuesday, growing by 1 billion in the last 12 years and reflecting the rapid population spike of the past few decades, according to the United Nations.

The UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 report has also specified that eight countries, including Pakistan, will be the biggest contributors in the next billion mark population rise. The other nations are: India, Egypt, Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Philippines, and Tanzania.

The report said India is set to become the world’s most populous country by next year, surpassing China.

The UN attributed the “unprecedented growth” of the population to the increase of the human lifespan as a result of improvements in healthcare, medicine and nutrition as well as high levels of fertility in some countries.

“8 billion hopes. 8 billion dreams. 8 billion possibilities. Our planet is now home to 8 billion people,” the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) tweeted.

“Unless we bridge the yawning chasm between the global haves and have-nots, we are setting ourselves up for an 8-billion-strong world filled with tensions and mistrust, crisis and conflict,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

The report said that India’s population stands at 1.412 billion in 2022, compared with China’s 1.426 billion. India is projected to have a population of 1.668 billion in 2050, way ahead of China’s 1.317 billion people by the middle of the century.

The UN described the global population reaching 8 billion as a “remarkable milestone”, with long-term significance for both rich and poor countries. While it took hundreds of thousands of years for the world’s population to reach 1 billion, the world grew from 7 billion to 8 billion just since 2010, a reflection of advancements in health.

As the world is expected to grow even more to over 10 billion during the next 60 years as the U.N.’s population division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) reported, population growth is slowing relative to the past, and the U.N. warns that the challenges of feeding, housing and keeping that level of people from polluting the climate will be significant.

On the bright side, the increase in global life expectancy grew to almost 73 years, and is expected to reach 77 years in 2050.

Another key point in the U.N.’s population report, updated in its November brief, is the gender divide: Today there are just slightly more men than women, but that even out by 2050.

The ‘8 billion’ person number is also a wake-up call for the U.S. since the report says that global migration “will be the sole driver of population growth in high-income countries.”

The report was originally published on World Population Day five months ago. It projected Tuesday as the day for the 8 billion person milestone, now dubbed the “Day of Eight Billion,” to be launched by DESA, the U.N.’s health agency (WHO), and the U.N.’s population fund (UNFPA) at U.N. Headquarters in New York. A more recent policy brief – with graphs and projections by DESA was updated this month.